Mangrove ecosystems are threatened by climate change. We investigated the effects of expected future (year 2100) drought intensities and rising sea levels on the spatial extent and biomass production of mangroves located along the southern Iranian semi-desert coastal areas of the Persian Gulf (PG) and the Gulf of Oman (GO) under the projections of the RCP 8.5 climate change scenario. To do so, we first needed to establish a robust link of past drought intensities to spatial extents and biomass amounts of mangroves in the study region that would enable the prediction of biomass for the climatic conditions projected by the RCP 8.5 scenario for the year 2100. Large differences in drought intensities in the past pointed to a coordinated wet (1986–1998) and a dry (1998–2017) period throughout the study area and resulted in strong correlations of drought intensity to spatial extents and above- and below-ground biomass amounts. Whereas landward mangrove margins expanded modestly during the wet and contracted severely during the dry periods, leading to variable net areal gains and losses over time, seaward mangrove margins retreated during both periods, presumably due to rising sea levels. By the end of the 21st century, predicted values of biomass per hectare in the remaining mangroves exceeded current values by 47–64% (above-ground) and 41–48% (below-ground) due to a reduced drought intensity predicted for the region. Assuming no landward expansion, predicted mangrove areas declined between 4.9 and 7.2% for every 10 cm rise in sea levels, resulting in a net loss of total mangrove biomass between 18 and 56% throughout the study region at a sea level rise of 100 cm. Variability among sites at all times was partly due to differences in drought intensities, coastal topographies, and differential rates of sedimentation and subsidence/uplift, with greater adverse effects on the coastal areas of the GO than the PG. We conclude that adverse effects of rising sea levels on the extent of mangroves were only partly offset by the increased biomass in the remaining mangroves following reduced drought severities predicted for the end of the 21st century. It is still unclear to what degree mangroves can take advantage of lesser drought intensities predicted for the end of the 21st century and expand their landward margins.
Sea-level Rise, Coastal Flooding, and Storm Events
Climate change and its accompanying sea-level rise is set to create risks to the United States’ stockpile of spent nuclear fuel, which results largely from nuclear power. Coastal spent fuel management facilities are vulnerable to unanticipated environmental events, as evidenced by the 2011 tsunami-related flooding at the Fukushima plant in Japan. We examine how policy-makers can manage climate risks posed to the coastal storage of radioactive materials, and identify the coastal spent fuel storage sites that will be most vulnerable to sea-level rise. A geospatial analysis of coastal sites shows that with six feet of sea-level rise, seven spent fuel sites will be juxtaposed by seawater. Of those, three will be near or completely surrounded by water, and should be considered a priority for mitigation: Humboldt Bay (California), Turkey Point (Florida), and Crystal River (Florida). To ensure policy-makers manage such climate risks, a risk management approach is proposed. Further, we recommend that policy-makers 1) transfer overdue spent fuel from cooling pools to dry casks, particularly where located in high risk sites; 2) develop a long-term and comprehensive storage plan that is less vulnerable to climate change; and 3) encourage international nuclear treaties and standards to take climate change into account.
The fossil record provides valuable data for improving our understanding of both past and future reef resilience and vulnerability to environmental change. The spatial and temporal pattern of the initiation of the Holocene Great Barrier Reef presents a case study of reef response to rapid sea-level rise. Past studies have been limited by the lack of well-dated and closely spaced reef core transects and have not closely examined the composition of the reef-building communities through time. This study presents 80 new high precision U-Th and 5 radiocarbon ages from twelve new cores located along three transects across different geomorphic and hydrodynamic settings of One Tree Reef, southern Great Barrier Reef, to document three distinct stages of Holocene reef development in unprecedented detail. Temporal constraints on changing paleoecological assemblages of coral, coralline algae and associated biota revealed three distinct phases of reef development, consisting of: 1) a fast, shallow and clear-water reef initiation from 8.3 until 8 ka; 2) a shift to slower, deeper and more turbid-water reef growth from 8-7 ka; and 3) a return to shallow and rapid branching coral growth in clear-water conditions as the reef “catches up” to sea-level. A minimum lag prior to reef initiation of 700 years was identified, which differs in length depending on reef environment and Pleistocene substrate height. In this new model, reef growth initiated on the topographically lower leeward margin and patch reef, prior to the start of windward margin development, contrary to the traditional reef growth model. While there was a shift to conditions less favorable for reef growth at 8 ka, this did not prevent the slow accretion of more sediment-tolerant coral communities. The majority of the reef reached sea level by ~6 ka. This new conceptual model of Holocene reef growth provides new constraints on changes in paleoenvironment that controlled reef community composition and growth trajectories through sea-level rise following inundation.
This study focuses on the impacts of variable shoreface closure depth limits on coastal responses to increases in sea levels along a sandy barrier in southern Brazil. Upper and lower shoreface limits for sediment exchanges are largely regulated by the wave climate and they tend to move offshore as the temporal scale increases. Therefore, because closure depth limits are a source of uncertainty in simulations of coastal response to sea level rise, to elucidate how important changes in these limits are under such conditions, four simulation experiments were performed with variable combinations of upper and lower shoreface closure depth values. Direct methods for closure depth delineation require long term data sets with field surveys, which are rarely available; therefore, indirect approaches are applied widely. To calculate closure depth values here, we apply Hallermeier's equations using two wave data sources: one measured (via wave buoys) and one modeled Wave Watch III and Simulating Waves Nearshore Model (WWIII/SWAN). Evaluation of coastal response under rising sea levels was possible via application of an aggregated coastal modeling approach using the random shoreface translation model (RanSTM). Shoreline retreat distances resulting from each combination of upper (hc) and lower (hi) shoreface closure depth values (cases) in model simulations were compared: Case 1 (hc = 7.4 m; hi = 42.1 m), Case 2 (hc = 7.4 m; hi = 35.7 m), Case 3 (hc = 6.2 m; hi = 35.7 m), and Case 4 (hc = 6.2 m; hi = 42.1 m). Statistical analysis via the Kruskal-Wallis test demonstrated that shoreline retreat was significantly affected (at P < 0.01) by the variations in lower shoreface limit. The recession distance was greater when the lower shoreface limit was deeper. Overall results indicate that the choice of lower shoreface limiting depth is indeed crucial in influencing coastal response to sea level rise, and hence in future shoreline position forecasts. Therefore, these results show the relevance of determining such limits with confidence when modeling coastal response to sea level rise, especially when this rise is being predicted over longer temporal scales.
Global sea-level rise since the Nineteenth Century is expected to eventually cause recession of many shores, however most swell-exposed sandy beaches have not yet shown such response. This study analysed a 70-year air photo and beach profile record for swell-dominated Ocean Beach (western Tasmania) to show an abrupt change of long-term shoreline position variability circa 1980, from episodic erosion and accretion since at least 1947 to persistent recession with no recovery up to the present. Dating of back-dune peats exposed in the dune scarp showed that recent shoreline recession exceeds any in the last 1800 years. Investigation of potential causes identified recent-onset sea-level rise (SLR) on a tectonically-stable coast and increasing winds driving increased wave-setup as drivers with sufficient explanatory power to account for the observed changes, although data limitations and residual uncertainties mean additional contributing factors such as interdecadal wave direction changes cannot be ruled out. We hypothesise that Ocean Beach has experienced earlier recession in response to SLR and other climate change effects than many other beaches owing to exposure to a very high-energy storm-dominated wave climate, littoral drift efficiently delivering eroded sand to a large-capacity active sand sink, and low variability in swell-wave directions and inter-annual sea-levels. We hypothesise that sea-level rise with higher onshore wind speeds generating increased wave setup at Ocean Beach since before the 1980s has increased upper beach erosion event frequency until the formerly stable or gaining sand budget reversed to deficit. A major storm or storm cluster abruptly tipped the beach into its current recessional mode when its sand budget was close to deficit. Factors causing an early shoreline response to sea-level rise at this site are applicable more widely as potential indicators of beaches likely to respond earlier than others to climate-induced changes including not only SLR but also wind climate changes.
Beach loss and shoreline retreat caused by sea level rise (SLR) is considered one of the most worldwide significant issues. The Mediterranean coastline of Egypt (approximately 1066 km) is likely to face beach erosion, particularly in the low-lying and sandy coastal areas in the future as a direct response to SLR. Consequently, the projection of future shoreline recession and corresponding beach loss due to SLR using the Bruun rule were investigated to assess the proper impacts of SLR on the shoreline recession and beach loss. In addition, the uncertainties ratios associated with SLR scenarios and sediment sizes were assessed. Furthermore, this study investigated the influence of local land subsidence in combination with SLR scenarios on the shoreline recession and associated beach loss along the Nile Delta coastline. The ensemble-mean regional SLR data included representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios and 21 models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). The projected shoreline retreats and associated average beach loss in the future 2081–2100 were ranged from 12.6 m and 11.3 km2 to 41.9 m and 19.2 km2 for the ensemble-mean SLR RCP2.6 and RCP8.5, respectively. The uncertainty caused by the sediment size of 0.15 to 0.35 mm ranged from 17% to 30% for RCP2.6 and RCP8.5, respectively. The projected annual shoreline retreats ranged from 0.36 to 0.65 m/yr for the ensemble-mean SLR in combination with local land subsidence for RCP2.6 and 0.48 to 0.85 m/yr for RCP8.5, respectively. Highly vulnerable areas to shoreline recession for SLR and local land subsidence were detected from EL-Manzala lake to Port Said coastlines, Abo Qir bay, from Rosetta to Damietta promontories, and Alexandria coastline. Thus, shoreline retreat and associated beach loss due to SLR is an urgent issue that should be addressed through the integrated coastal zone management strategies of Egypt.
The response of a coastal region to sea-level rise depends on the local physical features, which should therefore be evaluated locally to provide an accurate vulnerability assessment. In this study, we conducted comprehensive analyses of the potential impacts of sea-level rise on the Pearl River Estuary (PRE), China with the aid of a fully calibrated three-dimensional hydrodynamic model. We found that in general, the salinity, stratification and tidal range will increase as the sea-level rises. Clear spatial variations were apparent in the response of these parameters, with different patterns occurring in different seasons. The strongest salinity increase was mostly at the front of the PRE, where freshwater and saltwater meets. In Lingding Bay (LDB), the rate of increase in stratification in response to the sea-level rise was found to be higher during high-flow conditions than that during low-flow conditions. The increases of tidal range and tidal current were amplified in the upstream direction, with the largest increase occurring in the upper tributaries. The change of vertical transport process in the PRE is not prominent and only in the upper LDB the vertical transport time increased for approximately two days. The upstream transport process was strengthened during the typical wet season and weakened during the typical dry season. The downstream transport slowed in both wet and dry seasons as the sea level rose. For a sea-level rise of 1 m, the dry season residence time increased by 8.5 days, while the wet season residence time showed only minor changes. It was also found that the fluvial input remained in the PRE for a longer time after the sea level rose, which would increase the retention time of dissolved substances and thus effect biogeochemical processes.
In response to increasing greenhouse gases emissions, the global climate is undoubtedly changing. As a consequence of rising temperatures, mean sea level also shows an increasing tendency globally, still, uncertainties in relation to its regional specific trends can be identified. Besides that, uncertainties also remain regarding regional and local coastal response to sea level rise. Coastal geomorphology (topography, bathymetry, and sediment texture) plays a relevant role, especially in defining how sediment exchanges occur in the active zone, thus inducing different morphodynamic readjustments. In this context, this study is focused on projecting the future coastline position for the years 2040 and 2100 along three sectors at Hermenegildo Beach, and on investigating the influence of site-specific geomorphological characteristics, urbanization and the presence of hard coastal protection structures on the coastal response under accelerated rates of sea level rise using a stochastic morpho-kinematic model, the Random Shoreface Translation Model. Model outputs as coastal recession distances were submitted to a Kruskal-Wallis test to verify if there were significant differences in coastal recession 1) amongst the three sectors (standard own topography and bathymetry); 2) due to changes in dune topography only; and 3) due to the presence or absence of hard coastal protection structures at the urbanized sector. Overall, the results indicate that the urbanized area presented the highest recession distance amongst the sectors. Differences in dune heights between the northern and southern dune field sectors at Hermenegildo Beach do not significantly influence the mean coastal retreat. On analyzing mean coastal recession results for the urbanized sector, with and without hard coastal protection structures, we conclude that the presence of urbanization and hard structures on the active dune and beach contributed to a maximum increase of 13.52% in mean coastal recession distance and that it significantly (P < 0.01) affects coastline recession in comparison to that in the case of a non-structured dune field for both the time horizons considered (2040, 2100). The results presented here provide a basis for future planning and management at the area, pointing out to the increased erosion risk caused by the existence of an artificially structured shoreline.
This work analyzes the coastal impacts of the combined effect of extreme waves and sea level extremes, including surges and projected mean sea level rise in Bocagrande, Cartagena (Colombia). Extreme waves are assessed from a wave reanalysis that are propagated from deep waters to the beach considering the hydrodynamic processes and taking into account the interaction between waves and the coastal elevation within the study area. First, we consider present sea level, storm surges and waves affecting the area. Next, we analyze the effect of sea level rise according to a moderate (RCP4.5) climate change scenario for the 21st century (years 2025, 2050, 2075, and 2100). The most pessimistic scenario (year 2100) yields a percentage of flooded area of 97.2%, thus revealing the major threat that represents sea level rise for coastal areas in the Caribbean Sea.
Recent projections suggest worst-case scenarios of more than six ft (1.8 m) of global mean sea-level rise by end of century, progressively making coastal flood events more frequent and more severe. The impact on transportation systems along coastal regions is likely to be substantial. An analysis of impacts for Atlantic and Cape May counties in southern New Jersey is conducted. The impact on accessibility to employment is analyzed using a dataset of sea-level increases merged with road network (TIGER) data and Census data on population and employment. Using measures of accessibility, it is shown how access will be reduced at the block-group level. An additional analysis of low and high income quartiles suggest that lower-income block groups will have greater reductions in accessibility. The implication is that increasing sea levels will have large impacts on people and the economy, and large populations will have access to employment disrupted well before their own properties or places of employment may begin to flood (assuming no adaptation).